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Microsoft EU

EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement 173

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the go-to-court-like-it's-1998 dept.
dkleinsc writes "Three years ago, Microsoft came to an agreement with EU regulators that required them to provide users with a choice of web browsers. Last July, they found Microsoft in breach of that agreement. Today, they announced that this will result in charges, potentially resulting in fines as large as $7 billion." Microsoft gets one last chance to defend itself.
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EC Sends Statement of Objections To Microsoft For Violating Anti-Trust Agreement

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  • The only way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:37AM (#41751233) Journal

    The only way to make corporations behave is to make the fine firstly remove all profits from the nefarious acts and then add enough on top that the risk/reward ratio is larger than 1 so that they don't do bad things on the chance that they're not caught often enough to matter.

    In other words, the fine must really hurt otherwise it's just the cost of doing business (c.f. the paltry 1bn that intel had to spend for years of blatantly illegal market fixing).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Corporations never do anything profitable. Just ask anyone in Hollywood. I suggest going after up to 200% of revenue directly or indirectly related.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xigxag (167441)

      Be that as it may, the fine should in my opinion be commensurate with the severity of the wrong. Microsoft has a dwindling brower share of a dwindling platform. It's impossible for it to dominate the internet anymore - as of late, Apple and Google have both proven themselves more adept at doing so. You don't throw people in prison for jaywalking; a fine of billions of euros would seem more like spitefulness than a reasoned response to a minor violation.

      • Microsoft has a dwindling brower share of a dwindling platform. It's impossible for it to dominate the internet anymore -

        But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

        This case has been running a very long time.

        With your suggestion, it is worth the corporation stalling for as long as possible. That way, the chances are if they can stall for 10 years or more, it won't be nearly as important.

        Th

        • But they are getting away with it....
          This case is not about past wrongs, it is about activity over the last year or so.

          • This case is not about past wrongs, it is about activity over the last year or so.

            The only reason they have this is because of past wrongs.

            In the criminal world it's like excusing a parole voilation because "the original crime was a long time ago".

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          p>But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

          This case has been running a very long time.

          With your suggestion, it is worth the corporation stalling for as long as possible. That way, the chances are if they can stall for 10 years or more, it won't be nearly as important.

          The point is to prevent them doing it again.

          The prevention only works if it is simply not worth the risk.

          I would think that the purpose behind an anti trust law is to prevent the monopoly from remaining a monopoly, and thereby allow competitors a chance to offer competition. Since the market resolved the issue without government intervention it's hard to argue that there really was a monopoly, or at least monopoly abuse, in this instance. I don't think that corporations will stall in the hopes that they'll lose marketshare. That wouldn't really be a Wall Street smart plan.

        • by Archtech (159117)

          But they made a lot of money in the past through this domination. Basically, you're saying they should more or less get away with it because it no longer matters.

          Precisely! When United States v. Microsoft was decided in 2000, instead of breaking up the company or forcing it to publish its source code - as had widely been speculated - the DoJ was satisfied with Microsoft promising not to do it again.

          Imagine if the accused in a murder trial were to propose such an outcome. "Don't punish me for this murder, and I promise I shan't do it again in future (at least I won't murder the same guy again)".

          Netscape was *already dead*. Promising not to kill it again was a fairly

        • by xigxag (167441)

          They haven't gotten away with it. They've already paid tremendous fines to the EU.

          The point is to prevent them doing it again.

          Why not? Microsoft no longer has the power to leverage their monopoly into web traffic. Worldwide, mobile web traffic share continues to increase and in some markets is on the verge of eclipsing desktop traffic, a trend that is likely to continue no matter what Microsoft does. When will Apple and Google be forced to offer browser selection? At what point does the already wounded g

      • by aliquis (678370)

        What about the AppStore? Or whatever it's called now.

        • Microsoft was found in violation of monopoly laws because they have a near monopoly on desktop OS' and abused that position.

          As much as I dislike Apples business practices: They have neither a (near) monoply on the phone market nor the tablet market. They are a very big player in both, but there is actual competition.

      • But 70%, easily, of their market share is because of their monopoly. So while they are no longer a monopoly on browser users they do on PCs.

        But personally I do not even agree with the initial ruling.

      • Yes I agree. The fine should be commensurate with the severity of the wrong. Microsoft has completely ignored a court order, and if it were an individual, it would face serious jail-time. $7 billion feels like a slap on the wrist. It's business license should be revoked for a couple of years.
  • by jbolden (176878) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @09:44AM (#41751309) Homepage

    I could understand Microsoft being a pain in the browser department when they were building an entire stack on top of I.E. with:

    a) Active Desktop / Channels
    b) Active-x (i.e.windows binaries as a web format)
    c) A specialized Java that ran much faster than standard Java
    d) Deep ties with IIS

    And then for the later IE6 years, I can understand the advantages of only offering a crippled web browser once they won the browser wars to keep people locked into the Microsoft desktop.

    But today's newer web apps are being built browser and OS independent, a lot of them are built on Macs and a lot migrate their functionality over from Linux. IIS specific software isn't popular, and even where it is deep ties with IE isn't. Today's IE is rather full featured and aims at standards compliance.

    You have to wonder why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

      I as an individual do not get to break the rules and flaunt the punishment. Yet you are saying Microsoft should. Even though Microsoft crippled competition and the Internet for years!

      All that todays more vibrant choices of browsers has shown. Is the need to protect competition and with it innovation against abuse monopolies.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        get to break the rules and flaunt the punishment. Yet you are saying Microsoft should.

        Where am I saying that? I'm saying I'm not even sure why Microsoft is bothering to break the rules.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective?

      Because then they would be responsible for support of those browsers. Since they would ship with the product that you purchase from Microsoft, you can hold Microsoft accountable for that support.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Because then they would be responsible for support of those browsers. Since they would ship with the product that you purchase from Microsoft, you can hold Microsoft accountable for that support.

        But you don't buy the OS from Microsoft unless it's an upgrade or you're building your own computer. You're not MS's customer, you're Dell's or HP's customer.

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          You're not MS's customer, you're Dell's or HP's customer.

          Then Dell and HP should be the ones providing the alternate ballot box, not Microsoft.

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      You have to wonder why they can't just throw in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Safari in a "other browsers" folder and be done with this whole mess. What is the logic from their perspective? Why even bother with this fight anymore. What do they get out of it?

      Um, freedom from lawsuits, for a start. Let's see, if they put Firefox on and the translation for some obscure language has mistakes in it - offensive mistakes - Microsoft now finds themselves in court defending their actions of including a defective product that they had no control over.

      This isn't like a Linux distribution where it is clearly stated that it is a collection of random bits that have no affiliation with each other or the packager. Microsoft is delivering a unified product and goes to great

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Thank you for a good answer. I should mention that Apple for example used to bundle in lots of 3rd party applications: Omni Graffle and Omni Outliner which they couldn't directly support though they offered support contracts. Though I agree Microsoft hasn't done this as much with the default OS.

        I'd assume Apple is willing to support Safari and Opera Software is willing to support Opera. Google isn't willing to support their own products so I assume no on Chrome. Mozilla Foundation just can't support Fir

      • Um, freedom from lawsuits, for a start.

        I think the recent EU action demonstrates why that is not an actual benefit Microsoft receives from defying the rules it agreed to in settling the EU antitrust action.

  • to delete internet explorer , dave.
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @10:49AM (#41752197)

    It was a bad decision to tie the IE web browser function into the Windows operating system. It was a bad decision to fight the anti-monopoly folks when they came calling. It was a bad decision to drag their feet about offering browser alternatives in Windows. And, now, it has been a bad decision by Microsoft to blow off the EU regulators when they were ordered to include browser alternatives. Microsoft was gifted with their Windows monopoly thanks to being in the right place in the right year with the right software. Now, however, the world has moved on and the Windows monopoly is tottering. Microsoft should have just quietly enjoyed their monopoly while planning for its eventual demise rather than attempting to enjoy it in perpetuity. Now, the entire Microsoft 'empire' built on the Windows monopoly is in jeopardy...and the end will probably come much sooner than anyone thinks. It was stupid back a few years to ignore the EU and it is even more stupid now, given the new market realities that Microsoft faces. Microsoft needs new leadership...they need it really soon...and even then it might be too late.

    • by spongman (182339)

      It was a bad decision to tie the IE web browser function into the Windows operating system

      was it a bad decision to bundle a TCP/IP stack into the Windows operating system?

      • by nukenerd (172703)
        Spongman asked :-

        was it a bad decision to bundle a TCP/IP stack into the Windows operating system?

        No, because the TCP/IP stack is an industry standard. I hope that helps. Next question?

    • by cpghost (719344)

      Now, the entire Microsoft 'empire' built on the Windows monopoly is in jeopardy...and the end will probably come much sooner than anyone thinks.

      Not if they manage to lock (99% of) the PC world in Microsoft UEFI-Hell. Browser wars are so passé. BIOS lockdowns are the new super weapon of Microsoft. I'm wondering how long it would take for the EU to issue anti-competitive rulings in this area too.

  • which operating system has the largest number of different browsers available for it?

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